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20 Years Of Nike Basketball Design: Air Max2 CB (1994)

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As Nike Basketball continues its look back over twenty years of game changing designs, we’re reminded that the Air Jordan Legacy could have filled up half of the list (or perhaps one of its own). We see the connections to MJ in Tinker and company’s Air Flight Huarache and Air Raid designs and now with the pair pictured above, the other half of these features have focused on a key early ’90s rival. After he won a gold at Barcelona ’92 in the Air Force 180, Hall of Fame power forward Charles Barkley turned in his finest season and met up with MJ in the 1993 Finals. An MVP-level effort wasn’t enough for Sir Charles to capture that first championship, so Beaverton went back to the drawing board to create a product that perfectly married, in Hatfield’s words: “The outlandishness of Charles’ persona and the beauty of the product”

The Nike Air Max2 CB (’94) reflected Chuck’s rebellious persona thanks to designer Tracy Teague having the kind of freedom of expression to which Barkley alluded in his infamous ‘Role Model’ ad. Accordingly, the AM2 CB is an imposingly aggressive design equipped to handle sudden outbursts as the Round Mound of Rebound continued to play above his size. Features like straitjacket-inspired lockdown straps, reinforced ghillie lacing and a ferocious, toothy midsole made this design so memorable it was recently resurrected as the basis for Nike Sportswear’s Air Max Barkley, but longtime fans and collectors recognize the original style as irreplaceable. Check out some of the early sketches and OG colorways after the jump below, let us know where Charles Barkley ranks in the pantheon of great signature ballers and stick with Sneaker News as we examine twenty years of bold basketball design.

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